Monday, May 23, 2016

Finnick Odair in a wheelchair!

Its been a while since I've written because, well, who has time for that anymore.

But then this showed up in my insta feed. And I was like...."WHAAAAAAT!??? Finnick Odair in a wheelchair!??? This might be the best movie yet. I watched the trailer and thought. "AMAZE! What is this beautiful story about.?"

And then I googled.

I went ahead and read the whole premise. Spoiler and all.
If you haven't read the book and don't want it spoiled go ahead and stop reading.

Ive had friends ask me to go see the movie with them...because....well....Finnick. And honestly if I hadn't googled I would have been perfectly happy to see it.

But I did.

And honestly, I truly try not to be offended by everything wheelchair related and such. I try not to be hyper sensitive and over zealous and post all the posts and stuff. But tonight I read an article that perfectly explained all my thoughts after I read what I did.

When I first sat there excitedly reading what this story was about and then my excitement turned to horror and my heart was literally pounding in my chest by the end of it I almost felt like an idiot. I had tears in my eyes, my hands were a little shaky and I genuinely just felt upset. When you have such strong feelings and you are completely by yourself and you've read something that is supposed to be happy and exciting (the way the person wrote about the movie) it can make you feel like you are on the edge of crazy.

I've got some pretty strong opinions on the book and movie...none of which are good ones.

And Ill admit I didn't read it. I don't plan on seeing it and I don't plan on having a second opinion on it.
The whole idea was enough for me. The whole idea of the book made me want to vomit my fruity pebbles.

Here's the link to the blog I read tonight. I'll warn you its long. But if you've taken the time to read the book I'd ask that you take the time to read this.

If you take the time to go see the movie, take the 10 minutes it might take to read this.

Maybe you might be annoyed with me for having strong feelings about this, maybe you might just roll your eyes.  Or maybe you might just put yourself in our shoes.

And BTW. I'm totally okay with agreeing to disagree....It's what we do sometimes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Who's story is it anyway?

You might have noticed that my page has changed. This blog used to be called "raising toby." My Facebook page used to be called, "Pray for Toby." And now all that has changed.

You see as Toby grows I start to lose some of what I felt was my story to share. As Toby gets older my voice that has told the story becomes his voice that tells the story. It's no longer my story to share.

I am part of the first generation of "blogging parents."  I'm still figuring this whole thing out in the age of social media galore and ways to pour your heart out and honestly I haven't figured it out yet. I don't want to look back in 10 years and have to apologize for what I put up. So what I'm doing is leaning towards caution. Leaning towards quiet and leaning towards respect.

One day Toby will be preteen Toby. One day Toby will be teen Toby and one day Toby will be man Toby. Will all those Tobys want me sharing his story for all to see? I don't know the answer to that.

But I'll lean towards caution, I'll lean towards quiet and I'll lean towards respect.

It took me longer to change the Facebook page because I desperately wanted everyone to keep praying for him. I wanted people who I know care so much about him to know what is going on and what we are facing. So "Pray for Toby" still seemed appropriate.

However the last couple times he's gone by and the screen has been up I've wanted to shut the screen, face it another way and hide the page. I didn't want him to see it because I wasn't sure what he would think of  it.

And that was the lightbulb moment for me.

It was time.

Baby Toby has turned to kid Toby and kid Toby just wants to be KID TOBY not "Pray for Toby."

I still have a story to share. I still have things to tell you and I still desperately want you to Pray for Toby still and pray for our family and pray for Wren too. But Toby's voice just got a little louder and mine got a little more quiet because it's his story to share and not mine.

So I hope you will still stick around and I will keep you updated on basic things with him but Ill keep you updated on all things in our little family...okay big family.  Cause I still have lots of story to share.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

when you feel like someone/something wrecked your life.

When you feel like someone/something wrecked your life.

There are times in my life when I've felt like its been wrecked. (when what I think should be the path gets derailed or changed or straight up messed with.)

There are moments when I've handled it with grace and with all the correct words, phrases and verses we love to use. There are moments when I've handled it with a straight up junky attitude. There are moments when I'm somewhere in between.

Ever since the Lego movie has been out and I've heard it (in my mini van) 1737 times there is a quote that gets stuck in my head. It's when President Business says, "YOU WRECKED IT!"
And that's sometimes how I feel. I felt like my life was on a specific path when God wrecked my life, my plans and the direction my family was going in. The problem is sometimes the wrecking doesn't feel like God. Sometimes it feels like specific individuals and/or events that make choices that affect your family. Oh, how every time something happens, goes wrong, becomes difficult, gets overwhelming I want to go back and yell out in my best President Business voice..."You wrecked it!"

And when I'm in the deep of that inward battle of feeling like life just got wrecked and I want to let whomever know about the wrecking they did I have to know one thing. This person/event/thing didn't wreck it without THE ONE allowing the change to happen. God isn't unaware of the wreck. He isn't up in heaven going "oh I missed that. Oh I wish I could have controlled that". God uses bad situations, even people making wrong choices and can "wreck our lives." So then when I'm mad and frustrated and overwhelmed and life seems hard who should I really be yelling at? God? Would I dare yell at God and let Him know how He wrecked my life. No way. I've grown up Baptist way too long to know not to do that. I'm a Pastor's Wife so I am definitely not at liberty to do that. However, when that's where my mind goes its kind of what I'm doing. My heart is saying, God wrecked this perfect plan.
Maybe its Spina Bifida, Eye Issues (because a new doctor wrecked our diagnosis), A baby I wasn't quite planning on, maybe a move away from a place I thought I would be forever, new doctors changing things up, a home that's not perfectly accessible. Maybe I feel like my life just got wrecked.

But it's not true. And I know it. I know that God knew. He knew about each and every event. Everything He's working together. He's making my story beautiful. He's not wrecking it. He's creating it. If I sit and allow myself to view things in my life as being messed up and not right then I can be missing out on the very things that God has allowed in my life to become the biggest blessings and the moments that allow me to grow the most.  I would never say now that my life was wrecked with Toby. Its hard, yes but its beautiful. So how could I look at anything else in my life and say the same?
I can miss out on so so much beauty in my life if I focus on what got "messed up." And there is so much beauty. So much goodness. God didn't allow imperfect people to wreck my perfect life. First of all my life was never perfect,(for real yall) but God did allow things in my life that from the outside that looked wrecked. He is creating a new story and a new chapter and when I look at it from HIS perspective this new story is Oh so beautiful and Oh so perfect. And exactly what I need to see His goodness and to show His glory. So its a choice. I can see my perfect plan wrecked or I can see it for what it is a beautiful plan that's part of my story. And you know what's pretty wonderful...when the realization hit that we had to leave, that we had to move and I felt like everything was wrecked and now...I sit in my home after spending the evening with my church family.  I'm exhausted from the day but I've seen so much beauty all day. New friendships. New relationships. New children to love. New people to serve. New opportunities. And I see it all....not the wreck. But I see this new perfect. This perfectly perfect plan that at first looked so imperfect and now....I'm pretty thankful that God wrecked my plan because His plan is always so much better.

When was a time you felt like God wrecked your perfect plan but it ended up so much more beautiful then you thought?

********leave a comment below**********

Saturday, August 1, 2015

12 years

I'm sitting here on the night before my anniversary just reflecting and mentally looking back at the past 12 years. This isn't written pretty and I'm typing on my tablet so just go with it.

We've had an awesome 12 years together and I've laughed till I've cried and I've just plain cried.

We've done big things like Disney for our honeymoon and small things like walking around Target looking into the awful magnification mirrors in the beauty section. (don't do that its awful)
We went to college together and took Greek together while being married. Ẃe worked at GAP together and you were my boss for a little while. We started helping in a church plant in the youth together.  So many things that were such a big part of our lives and part of what has shaped us to be who ẃe are.
I'll never forget making a bologna sandwich for you and having no idea that I needed to take the red part off. That first year when you ate all my burnt food except the burnt fried chicken that was a bloody mess. You even ate tofu for me. you sold your Camaro for a more baby friendly option.

The moment just a couple months shy of our one year anniversary finding out we were pregnant for the first time. Sitting in the book store trying to figure out names and finding out the baby was a she. Being in the delivery room and you eating a Hamburger minutes before she arrived.
The day we found out number 2 was on the way way faster then we were ready for. You in grad school trying every job from plumbing, to selling cars to McDonald's manager. Smelling like chicken nuggets for days.
I'll never forget the day they said they saw something on the ultrasound. The next appointment hearing spinabifida and having no idea what it even was. Remembering crying and holding each other and being scared out of our mind. There were dark days in our marriage. Days that I have wanted to wish away and yet days that have made us who we are. We just kept going.   Toby came and we survived. Surgeries and scares and life being crazy. Uprooting our tiny family and moving out to Texas to start a youth pastor ministry.
In Texas we made the decision for one more child (laughable now) and when we found out we were pregnant we were told we might not keep the pregnancy. And here we have Milo. Our beautiful, kind Milo.  Then came Vander in all his red hair glory all the while we are missions tripping, camping, youth pastoring, junior senior banqueting, activities and just living.  Four and no more was a great motto. We were exhausted warn pretty thin and had come off an extremely hard dangerous surgery with Toby and then........ Wren. Our baby. I wasn't ready for her, wasn't planning on her and 3 days before we found out we talked about permanent surgery options and adopting one day. And then wren.  we thought we were done with hardships, another major surgery and recovery for Toby, broken ac, head lice for all the kids and Nate going to Guatemala ....we were done with hard. God had given us the most amazingly beautiful miraculous home that we were building and hard was behind us. Then at almost exactly 2 months old while standing watching Toby wheelchair basketball game it was like our baby went blind. Her eyes couldn't focus, they shook non stop and it felt like ultrasound day again. We heard words like cancer and tumor and after a week of tests the dreaded  'we dont know'  we have fought and fought for our kids and we fought for wren. Albinism of the eyes. No idea on her vision.  And yet we kept going. Moving from assistant pastor back to youth and things getting down right complicated. We held hands and just kept going. And now here we are moving our family over 1k miles away from everything our children have ever known (along with a great Dane) you are a Pastor for the first time and we have a great big life ahead of us.
So much more I could have mentioned, so much life lived in 12 years. You are the most fun husband. You make me laugh more than anyone and I miss standing in the kitchen eating cereal when the kids go to bed. You give and give and give of yourself until I'm certain there is nothing left for you to give and yet you find more. You drive back and forth to see us no matter how worn out you are. You never lost your temper even when that 3 day trip had some temper worthy moments. Ive watched you love those that aren't easy to love and show grace to those that didn't deserve it. (myself included) You love Jesus and you take your responsibility seriously. And yet you are still real. Our children love you and there is a huge hole in our family when you are gone. You are my partner in every aspect of my life. You always point me back to God even when I'm sure you are tired of reminding me. You have changed so much and I've watched you allow God to work and change and get you ready for such an important job.  I know I dont tell you this often enough.  but I want you to know I love you. You are perfect for me. And I'd walk the isle all over again.

Friday, June 26, 2015

I just can't

So I had quite a few friends share this story and I've seen praise after praise for this woman.  And I get it. I really really get it.  I do.  

But Holy Moly that story rubbed me the wrong way! If you don't want to read the story Ill give you my general run down.

First of all Morgan (the woman the story is about) posted the story on her own facebook page. Rubbing me wrong right here.  Its one thing to do something like this and have someone "catch" you in the act, its quite another to share a long emotionally driven post about it.

Secondly, can we just stop and say What the what??!! The man refused and she pushed his wheelchair anyways!!!  Let us all bow down and call you hero. Let us place flowers on your head and share your story in as many emotional ways as possible. You are amazing!   I just cant.

When I read that all I could picture was Toby. Toby when he refuses help and someone wont listen to him. Toby when all he wants to do is be the one to hold the door for someone and yet no one will let him. Toby who just wants to be left the stink alone. And this is just Toby as a child Toby. I cant imagine adult Toby in this situation.  I cant imagine my adult son just wanting to go grocery shopping and someone insisting on doing it all for him...PUSHING HIS CHAIR when he has said "no."

An adult with spina bifida the other day made a comment, she said. (and I'm paraphrasing cause really my memory is shot) I don't want to be your special needs trophy.

And boom. That was it. That's the phrase. The term. The let me barf in my mouth ideology.

When questioned the girl kept saying what a "humbling experience" all of this has been. Humbling enough to post about it?

I'm sorry I just cant jump on board. I cant wipe at my tears and smile and think awwwwwwww how sweet. Because all I can do is smile and think I hope Toby doesn't slug the person who tries that with him.

Don't make him your trophy.

And by the way over a year ago a man and his wife allowed Toby to hold the door for them without acting like it was a big deal. That is the hero. That is the humbling experience. That is when I smile with tears in my eyes. You are giving my son a chance to help not be helped. You are giving my child a chance to be a part of society and give back. Yea it was just a simple door hold, but seriously its been over a year..,possibly 2 or 3 and I still remember what this couple looks like.

So here it is. The opposite take on a story that I'm sure a lot of us have read about.  Maybe just think about both sides.  Maybe the no means no. And Ill give it to Morgan. I mean the man was touched. It worked out for her. But maybe the next time the no really really really means no and maybe you are robbing someone of their dignity and human experience by refusing to allow them to do it themselves.

Monday, March 30, 2015

What if the tables were turned.

If there is ONE thing the combo of ministry and special needs has taught me its to ask this question.

What if the tables were turned?

There is just so much benefit to asking that question! There is so much GRACE when life is viewed through that question! There is less judgement, more thought, less fighting and more understanding, less hurt feelings and more compassion.

When my feelings get hurt... When I get frustrated about something...When I think someone handled something poorly....If I can just stinking remember to ask myself.... What if?

What if I were the friend with the abled body kids? Would it be hard for me to always go to their house because I knew it was easier on them? Would it be hard to know that every outing with them was so much more work then an outing with another friend? Would it be worth it to me to try to offer encouragement and possibly offend? Would I want my kids to sit on the sidelines to play instead of getting their energy out at the park? Would it be worth the relationship to me when I knew the closer we got the more burden I would be expected to help carry? 

What if?

I hope you can ask yourself the same questions... What if you were the one with the kid in the wheelchair? Would you go to the park because its where kids want to play even though you didnt if it would end up in tears or possibly cause your child hurt? Would you allow people to get close to you? Would you voice your needs and accept help?

What if?

This doesn't just apply to wheelchairs and crutches and autism and abled body kids. These thoughts can I apply to everything. If only I would remember. Unfortunately doesn't happen as often as I wish...
What if I were military and left all the friends I made? Would I get close to people? Would it be hard to see my friends I left continuing on without me? What if I had twins? (I mean do I even need to add to that, heavens.) What if our future as a family looked very unclear? What if I didn't know if the next bill would be paid? What if my friend always seemed to be in the spotlight would I still support them?  What if I were the successful friend would I be understanding when friends were somewhat quiet about the success? What if I were the pastor's wife that was discouraged? What if my marriage was falling apart would I be honest and seek help? What if my child had cancer would I show up for every service and always have cheerful facebook posts? What if you just had the worst mom fail ever? What if I wanted to be a stay at home mom but my family needed me to work? What if I went to work everyday and came home to a grumpy wife? What if I was home with kids every day and an exhausted husband came home? What if my husband had cancer? What if I planned on going on a trip with my husband and at the last second couldn't go?

What if?

It's such a small question? Such a small thought when you really get down to it. Its not hugely significant but I do think it can be life changing. When I get frustrated, when I get bent out of shape, when my feelings just get hurt......If I could just remember to ask myself....If I could just mentally put myself on the other side......We can be so quick to judge what other's should do or shouldn't do or feel and shouldn't feel...

what if that were me? what if that was my reality? what would I want?  I tell you what no matter what I'd want a big ol dose of GRACE.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Growing out the Pixie

So All I wanted in life was to look like Whippy Cake....okay well Becky from whippy cake.
shes gorgeous. she has awesome hair... truly awesome. always. I dont think the chick knows what a bad hair day is. for real. follow her on instagram. she is awesome.

So finally after having long hair for the first time ever. I chopped it off. CHOP CHOP CHOP. 

and it was horrible. I avoided any and all camera for the first 6 weeks.  It finally started to grow.

This post is just a fun little documentation of growing out a pixie cut. because really its a challenge and it took some doing and really im not even all the way to the its officially grown out stage.

So first there was this. Granted this was after at least 6 weeks of grow out. (you can just imagine how short it was) Try the pin the bangs back and go for smooth without looking like a boy. Earrings and extra makeup were a must.

Then there was rocker chick USA. It was getting too long to smooth without looking like a horrendous comb over. So some extra wax and praying for non windy weather and you got this look.  

Then I tried the early 2000s me. Which was pulled back on one side and the other side pushed forward. It worked for the time being....but I felt like early 2000s me...and considering it wasnt 2003 I was looking forward to getting passed this stage.
Through all these stages I cut the back of my hair every 4-6 weeks to keep the mullet at bay. (let me tell you that is easier said than done) many times Nate had to come behind me and tidy it back up. Nothing made me feel more like a man then my husband "cleaning up my neck"
Then the side bangs happened and some more hair wax. It worked but it is very very hard to avoid looking like a justin beiber look a like. Some days Im sure I missed the mark on this look.
Then I went back to the one side down and the other side back but then switched it up with some waves with the flat iron. worked...for about 3 days...till I got sick and tired of the flat iron and waves not quite looking right.

And lastly here is the stage I'm at now. Its the bob with bangs.  For today I like it. I'm using a shampoo with caffeine in it. Im not 100% sure its working. I'm not 100% sure its not. But I'm learning towards working. There is only a few weeks between these bottom pictures and the one right above this. 

 So here you go.  The pixie transformation. I never did end of up looking like my hair idol whippy cake. But then again I'm not platinum blonde and I have about 700xs thicker hair than her.